Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0020964, Fri, 12 Nov 2010 08:43:42 +0000

> 1. Before buying/downloading Brian Boyd¹s Pale Fire: The Magic of Artistic
> Discovery, ($24.79), on Stan¹s 2nd Kindle (swank!), the screen informed me
> that ³Customers who bought this book also bought Middlemarch by George Eliot.²
> Does this ubiquitous amazonian marketing ploy pose any CrittyLitter problems
> worthy of Nabokovian solutions? Some disambiguation is required. It clearly
> means that at least two buyers of BB¹s Pale Fire also bought Middlemarch from
> amazon. We don¹t know which purchase came first, or if any causal connection
> is implied either way. If you click further, you see a list of a dozen other
> books that BB¹s PF customers have ³also bought.² This includes familiar
> classics from Ivanhoe to Crime and Punishment, but NO mention of the essential
> supplement to BB¹s exegesis, namely Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov! The latter,
> as you might guess, is not (as yet) in the Kindle Catalogue.
> Just to probe the system, I then ran a test purchase of Middlemarch, hoping to
> see that ³Customers who bought this book also bought
> Pale Fire: The Magic of Artistic Discovery by Brian Boyd.² Nonesuch came the
> reply.
> My only negative comment on BB¹s analysis after an enjoyable/instructive trip
> to locations 138-9 (are these printed-page numbers?) is his taking seriously
> VN¹s mathematical mumbo-jumbo about spirals and Hegelian dialectics. Such
> hypotheses violate the Popperian axiom of falsifiability ;=) The family of
> Archimedean curves r = a(t^[1/n]) [polar coordinates (r, t)] do indeed have
> beautiful properties (with consequences in Natural forms) but talk of
> ³unvicious circles² and relating parts of spirals to Hegel¹s triad
> (thetic/antithetic/synthetic) does a disservice to the those beauties. I fear
> ­ I fight a lost cause ... VN¹s provable awkwardness with real mathematics
> seems a taboo subject, yet it¹s no handicap to an artist of his stature.
> 2. Browsing through Literature in the Modern World ­ Critical Essays and
> Documents, Edited by Dennis Walder (OUP, 1991), I was
> shocked/annoyed/horrified/miffed ... No mention of VN, even in sections on
> Freud and translation.
> Stan Kelly-Bootle
> (Lord Derby Prize for Mathematics, 1946)

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